The walls would cry out against us a frightening thing. I was terrified. It must be true because the person telling it was a grown up man and why would he lie about this?
I am a flop house. The Crack House and Boarding House might argue the point that there isn’t much difference, the rose by any other name argument.
A flop house is usually habituated by men, a few women, who have jobs but not enough money to rent a full on apartment.
I have cots, all pushed up together.
There are some bunk beds in the back.
The people who stay here are welcome to pay at least something by the day, week or whatever and they are encouraged to save up so they can move along.
Flop houses are not the same as warming huts for homeless folks. We are a small step up from that.
There is one bathroom, warm water and if the department of health dropped in they’d close me down but not perform a full on raid.
The local police know about me and they occasionally come in looking for someone, maybe a dead beat dad, most of the time they look for dead beat dads. Occasionally a really bad criminal comes in but the ones who consider themselves bad don’t want to stay here, they would rather mug someone and get a cheap hotel room.
Sometimes a group of young people drop by with winter blankets, new sheets and canned food. Whoever seems to be in charge at the moment goes down to the local McDs and comes back with vouchers for a free lunch, anything to help them save up.
So, I am a step up from a crack house and a step down from a boarding house. I’ve seen people, stuck, at what they think is the lowest point in their lives and I’ve seen folks who come in filled with hope. Folks who see my house as the verge of daylight, the end of the tunnel.
My status as a flop house is always a thing in progress. Someone with too much time and nothing better to do could call for me to be boarded up and condemned and every day brings that fear to my door step.
I was a gathering place for people who socialized, not just a bar where you go up and order a beer and take it back to a beat down table where friends consumed as much as they could going from happy to sad to confrontational back to happy again. Sorry, I started to rant, there.